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change, faith, love, marriage, parenting

#marriageequality

Me: Boys, BOYS!!! GET IN HERE.  We need to talk about something.

A mini earthquake is created by the feet pounding down the stairs.  They are assuming they are in trouble.  Their minds mentally searching for the mess they forgot to clean up or the chore they didn’t do.  They breath a sigh of relief when they see excited smiles on Tim’s and my face.

Tim:  Guess what?  Today is a historical day.  Great news just got reported.

Me: So, today, the Supreme Court just passed a really positive law.  The Supreme Court is the highest court in our country.  They are like the bosses of all our country’s laws.  What they say goes.  Do you know what equality for all means?

Both nod their heads.

Me: It’s like what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted everybody receiving all the same rights no matter who they were.  Well, today, the Supreme Court just said that everybody can get married.  Even if it’s a man and a man or a woman and a woman.

Luke:  That wasn’t already a law?

Tim:  Nope.  Some people in our country didn’t think gay or lesbian couples should have that right.

Luke: Why did they think that?

Tim: Well, some people read the Bible and interpret it in thinking that God thinks being gay and living a gay lifestyle is a sin.  Mom and I think that is a misinterpretation of the Bible.

Me: We think God made some people who love others who are the same sex as them and other people who love the opposite sex.

Tim:  Love is always a choice, no matter who you love.  When I met Mom, she made my heart go pitter patter.  It just so happened that she was a girl and I was a guy.  We are what people call heterosexual.  Some boys get crushes on boys and some girls get crushes on girls.  They are called homosexual because they love the same sex.    All of us will get to choose who to love and it doesn’t matter if it’s someone who is the same as you or opposite of you.  It’s never sinful to love.  God wants us to love, he demands it.  And He doesn’t care if you marry a man or a woman.  And now, in our country marriage is a right that everybody gets to have.

Jack: Cool.

Tim: Jack, do you think gay marriage should be legal?

Jack: Yeah.

Tim: Why?

Jack:  <<pauses>>  Well….I can’t think of any reason it should by Uh-legal.

Me:  Dad and I wanted to talk to you about this today because it’s so exciting for our country.  But, more importantly, we want to tell you that you can love whoever you want.  If you have a crush on a girl we want to hear about it.  If you have a crush on a boy, we would love to hear about it too, so we can get excited with you.

Tim:  And boys, we wanted to let you know that there is absolutely nothing you can do that would make us stop loving you.  Even if you hurt us, or stopped talking to us forever, or if you made a mistake, we would still love you.  No. Matter. What.  Even if you disagree with us on this issue or any other, everyday we will love you more than the day before.

Me: You guys know that right?  That no matter what you do, or who you love, we will never ever stop loving you and supporting you.

Luke and Jack: Yep.

By this time, I realized they were getting  a little antsy and kept glancing out the window.

The neighbor boy had set up his Slip n Slide and I saw that they had already suited up in their swim trunks.

Me: You guys want go out and play in Jay’s yard, huh. (Both nod). Go for it.

I yelled a, “We love youuuuuu,” as they darted out the door, to play in a RAINBOW colored Slip n Slide.

Perfect.  This day couldn’t get any better.

 

adventures in adulthood, Jesus, love

What Would Jesus Say to Caitlyn Jenner?

We finally got Old Blue a new little brother.  We (as in Tim) researched all the possible options in our price range.  We (Again, Tim.  I come down with hives when I have to do research on the internet.) checked all the safety ratings, reliability and possible longevity of certain cars.  We narrowed our search down to a couple options, then we scoured craigslist and local dealerships.  After losing out on some deals and the dealerships not taking our reasonable offers, we finally found the perfect car on craigslist.

Buying a used car is always a gamble.  I’m a creature of habit so it’s hard for me to not feel like we are cheating on our beloved van.  But sorry, girl, we need ac in the summer and it would be really nice to get more than 10 miles to the gallon.

After a test drive and some back and forth, we finally got the car.  We bought it from a nice man, who we found out was a pastor at a local church.  At the end of the transaction, Tim had to drive him back to his own house.  Over the course of the drive, the topic of what he was preaching on at his church came up.  Apparently, he had been doing a sex and sexuality series.

Side note:  Strangers to close friends and everybody in between, just open up to Tim.  The conversations that people have had with him blow my mind sometimes.  I think it’s because he emanates non-judgement and he’s a really really good listener.  All people just want to be heard instead of preached to or offered solutions to all their current problems.  I completely suck at this.  I learn more and more everyday from Tim on how to listen and support others.

So this pastor sounded like he was trying to teach his congregation about sex and sexuality through the lens of what he perceived to be “biblical truth” and current events.  Red flags started to pop up during the car conversation.  His next sermon titled, “What would Jesus say to Caitlyn Jenner?” went on to confirm that he would be promoting hate and fear mongering toward a highly vulnerable group of people.

It made Tim sad to hear that this was happening.  I got all colors of mad when he relayed the interaction to me.  I’m a slow thinker and it’s hard for me to process inteligiable words during a high risk conversation so I would have probably sat in that car fuming and trying to come up with my own point of view to preach back to that pastor.  Tim, in all his infinite wisdom knew the right thing to say.  He asked a question.  “How do you think your church will react to hearing that message?”

I’m not sure if they had time to delve into the answer of that question because they had arrived at the pastor’s house and it was time for Tim to drive our car home.  I really hope that pastor thought about that question.  I hope it rattled around in his brain for the next few days as he was writing up his sermon.  I hope he pondered if there were any LGBT people in his congregation.  What would that message say to them?  Would it tell them that they were welcome?  That this church was their home?  Would they feel the love of Jesus sitting next to them in the pews and from the pulpit?

What would Jesus say to Caitlyn Jenner?

I don’t think he would say anything at first.  His arms would open, tears would leak and he would nod.  He would see her.  Welcome her.  As soon as she settled into his embrace, he would whisper into her ear, “Oh honey.  I know.  Today has been a hard day.”

He would let her cry all over his shirt.  He wouldn’t care that the mascara had transferred off her lashes onto his shoulder.  His tears, her tears, mixing together.  They would sit like this for a long time.

Then he would ask, “You hungry?  I know of this great Mexican place, let’s go.  The chips and salsa are to die for.  We probably need to take a shot of whiskey together too.  You look like you need one after today. I had to deal with some nasty hate-filled people today too.  Come on, let’s go.”

That’s what I hope was preached.  Probably not though, and that makes me so so sad.  Both Tim and I know we probably can’t change that pastor’s mind.  His head and heart are closed right now.  But I have a feeling, there is some kind of hurt within him too.  If we sit there and preach our conflicting ideas to him, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference.  Our job is to stand up for the marginalized.  Those on the outside, the hurting and stomped on.  Our job is also to listen and ask those probing questions.  I learned that from Tim.  If there was any wiggle room in that pastor’s ideas about sexuality, that question would have hit him straight in the heart.  The answer would have shifted his mind from thinking that his sermon was about an issue to the reality that his it was about people.  People who are living in a world that won’t recognize them for who they were made to be.  And some of those people were most likely sitting in his church.  Or he interacted with them on a daily basis.  Would his sermon change if it was about people in his own family?  I don’t think he realizes it yet, but everyone is in our family.  You, me, the pastor, Caitlyn, we’re family.

Family sits together and eats together.  Family listens together and stands up together.  Nobody is pushed to the side for who they are.  I hope that pastor comes to realize that because his family needs him.

When the boys and I finished up our errands we pulled the van into the driveway.  There was a weird car parked there.  It’s going to take some time getting used to something other than Old Blue.

Later that night we had our End of the Season Baseball Party to go to.  We decided to take the newbie out for his inaugural ride to pick up the pizza for the players.  As I drove out of our neighborhood, I looked over to Tim and got all teary.  “This is the shiniest, flashiest car we’ve ever had!  And we saved up our hard earned pennies for years to get her.  I’m so proud of us!!!”

And then we both giggled, because we might be the only people who think a used Honda is a luxury vehicle.

All day we had been brainstorming ideas for his name.  Alfred, Leonard and Paul McCartney were some of the contenders. When Jack heard our over-emotional conversation, he decided our car’s name.  “His name should be Flash.”  Flash, it is.  And the boys better like him because he will be their first car when they get their licenses.

The conversation had shifted and moved on while we sat at a stoplight.  Then, BAM!  A force propelled all four of us forward, bending our necks.  Our heads struggled to stay with the motion, whiplashing back.

An SUV towing a boat had slammed into us from behind.  A quick check proved that all four of us were okay, sore already, but okay.  We pulled into a parking lot, Flash was still driveable, and we exchanged info with the other driver, also unhurt.  Cops were called, an incident report filled out.  Everybody was shaky and sore, but we all walked away from a scary, unfortunate accident.

Flash isn’t as flashy anymore, but he’s in the shop getting his shiny groove back.

I can hear Alanis singing in my head.  Isn’t it ironic.  We finally take the jump in purchasing a new car and it gets smashed up in the same day.  How nice.  Someone else makes a public statement, portraying the beauty and freedom that comes in finally acknowledging who Jesus made her to be, and the world responds by verbally punching her in the face.

I think we all just need another shot of whiskey with Jesus.  I know I do after last week.

change, life, love

Safety and Accountability in Numbers

Consistent runs have been out of my workout repertoire for a long while.  I can blame bad joint genetics but we all know some wimping out has a little to do with it.  I started a new workout plan this week and today’s active prescription was interval running.  Ewww.  I can run a little, no biggie.  But sprinting?  Hell no.

Even when I was in my prime, my “sprint” was a tad faster than everybody else’s jog.  Now that I’m getting closer to the mid-30s I don’t even remember what a prime feels like.  I’m pretty sure my body will hate me if I try to get it moving faster than my usual turtle pace.

Sticking to plans is important to me so I knew I had to get out there and pound the pavement at some point today.  When I woke up, I peeked warily out the blinds. Cold, dark and wet.  That didn’t help motivate me.  A freak cold front was probably coming.  I’m sure rain mixed with hail would be on the forecast.  I put on some warm running gear hoping the inspiration would come from the cozy stretchy fabric.  Didn’t work.

Maybe lacing up my running shoes would get me out the door, but then I saw a whole sink of dirty dishes that were begging to be cleaned up.  I checked email and social media to delay even more.  An extra chapter in my book helped put off the run even longer.

I finally  looked back out the window to survey the disastrous environmental conditions.  Dang.  The sun was shining, the day was clear.  I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I stepped out my front door to a warm and breezy morning.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Perfect running conditions.

Starting was the hardest part.  My body wasn’t used to this consistent heart and lung beating.  Eventually I got into a groove and was able to enjoy the fresh air.

At one point I was struggling up a hill when another runner passed me.  As I entered into the active resting part of that interval, I saw her trek up the road at an impressive pace.  After a few more intervals I ended up catching back up with her and passing her on the last stretch of a sprint.  Both of us had our earbuds in so I tried to give her a wide berth as I passed.  My precautions failed because I totally freaked her out.  I smiled and tried to let her know I wasn’t a ferocious attacker.  I apologized for the scare and we both laughed.  She mentioned that this little incident made her realize how unsafe and unaware she was running alone with her music going.

We started talking a little and she ended up doing my last interval with me.  The conversation kept going into our cooldown.  She was spunky, beautiful and welcoming.  We ended up talking about kids, living in our cute little town and workouts.  Just by looking at her I would have never guessed she just celebrated her 50th birthday and had a kid almost ready to graduate college.

We parted ways when we got to her neighborhood, but not before exchanging numbers and sending promises of future runs.  Us ladies need to stick together on those lonely paths.  There is safety and accountability in numbers.

As I walked home I pondered about that fact.  There IS safety and accountability in numbers and it doesn’t just have to do with running.  I know when women get together, cat fights and drama ensue.  Sometimes it’s deliberate and out in the open, but other times it’s in the way we approach a situation or debrief after the fact.  I wish it didn’t have to be that way.  Us kindreds need to stick together.  Actually, even if we don’t all sync up together, we should at least come from a position of loving respect.  Down with the lady drama already!  We tend to either beat each other up, or beat ourselves up.  Even if we don’t agree or come from different backgrounds or hold beliefs in various ideas, that shouldn’t weaken us.  Those can be our strengths, if we let them.

How do we change that?  I want the unity, even in diversity, but how do we accomplish it?

What if we used this blog right here to create and practice unity?  My hope is that even though we are immersed in a world where competition and power struggles rule, we can escape from that here.  We can practice our togetherness and support each other, even when disagreements arise.  I would hope that through practice we can help the unity spread beyond the blogosphere.

What do you think?  Do you see a need for this?  How can we make it happen here?  How can we make it happen in our everyday lives?